Hove Station Footbridge Proposals

It was decided in 1905 that notices stating that “Persons are requested not to spit on the Bridge” would be affixed to Hove Station’s footbridge. Over 100 years later, the bridge continues to disappoint.

The infamous footbridge, which essentially connects Goldstone Villas and Hove Park Villas, today suffers from several unfortunate problems. Access for the disabled, those pushing bicycles and those lugging buggies presents a serious challenge, as does tackling various anti-social behaviour issues which perhaps stem from the bridge’s general unattractiveness. The list probably still includes spitting sadly.

Mr A. Sarle, Secretary and General Manager of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway (LBSCR), proposed the footbridge in 1888 to the Hove Commissioners and it opened in 1890 following minor delays in obtaining the ironwork. It was designed by LBSCR’s architect, Mr F. D. Banister, who happened to be a resident of Hove.

It was another Hove resident and architect, David Kemp of DK Architects, who recently took the trouble to put forward plans to restore and modernise the historic footbridge. David has sketched lift towers for each end of the bridge and called for the introduction of glass panels which actually allow people to view the trains as they pass below. Some might suggest that he has gone off the rails by putting forward such an ambitious scheme off his own back, but such proactiveness is entirely in the spirit of the development of our great city.

The footbridge has been modified on a number of occasions since it was built. Following complaints from a Mr Tickle about children playing on the bridge and watching the trains, the sides were enclosed in 1896. It was at this time that the roof was introduced. New steps were added in 1913. From its inception, there have been arguments between railway company and local authority over who should be responsible for the footbridge (much as there have been on the future of the currently closed Wilbury Road railway bridge nearby). In each case, plans have either been delayed or thwarted altogether.

This won’t put David off though. As an architect operating in Brighton & Hove, he is no doubt entirely used to planning battles. And he won’t be campaigning alone. Help will be coming from various quarters including from local campaigner Linda Freedman and other supporters of the Hove Station Neighbourhood Forum. The plans are certainly visionary – and hopefully not stationary.

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